Standard Practice, Dress Rehearsal and Live Show Setups

Bill Likes Pepsi At Rehearsal

   I’ve been playing in bands for 27 years now and have been to lots of band practices and rehearsals. Today I’m going to talk a bit about how your band sets up for practice and gigs. I want you to think about how your band sets up during a standard band practice. I’ll bet you that you stand in some kind of circle or oval facing each other with all the amplifiers and speakers pointing at you. That’s really the standard setup for a regular band practice.

   Now think of your setup at your gigs and live shows. I’ll bet your backs are to the drummer and all your speakers and amplifiers are pointing forward. Continue reading “Standard Practice, Dress Rehearsal and Live Show Setups”

The Quest For Good Tone

Pink Floyd - Capturing Good Tone at Live 8

   What is good tone? Well, the dictionary defines it as “The distinctive property of a complex sound.” I define tone as “The sound that brings me the most pleasure to listen to.” As a guitarist, I’m especially tuned in to the tone of my guitar. My guitar’s tone is the result of my guitar, amp and player’s touch working together to create that “distinctive property” that is the most pleasurable for me to listen to.

Continue reading “The Quest For Good Tone”

How Many Instruments Should I Run Through The P.A.?

Mike Portnoy\'s Drumset
Somebody, Mic That Drumset!

   This is a great question and the answer is easy. You should run as many of the instruments as you can through the P.A.. It’s the best way to get an even live sound when your band plays. There are a lot of advantages to having everything running through the P.A. and it’s a must if you have a live soundman.

   The biggest advantage of running everything through the P.A. is the fact that you have a central location to control the overall mix of your band. Your soundman can’t do much if all the guitar amps are running louder on the stage than the singer coming through the P.A. and the soundman can’t control them. Continue reading “How Many Instruments Should I Run Through The P.A.?”

Get A Good Soundman

   One of the most difficult things we have to deal with as live music performers is determining how we sound out where the crowd is. It can be a real nightmare to try to determine if you’re really sounding good out in the room. We’ve tried asking wives, girlfriends, fans, bouncers, managers and they all have a different opinion of how we sound. It’s a very subjective question and the feedback you get seems to depend on who you ask. If you ask the singers wife how the band sounds, of course the vocals are too quiet. The guitarists wife wants more guitar… You know the drill. Then you get the “Pro Sound Technician” that comes up to you at a gig and gives you all sorts of advice and then pesters you until you change things that almost invariably ruin your sound.   Continue reading “Get A Good Soundman”